Ashes & Shadows…Ilsa J. Bick Rocks This Post!

So, you may remember when I read Ilsa J. Bick‘s Ashes.

It freaked me out & kept me up at night.

I LOVED IT!
ASHES-5 Creepy Blings!
It also ended in a OMG! WHAT THE WHAT! cliffhanger! I totally love/hated how Ilsa rocked those last two pages!

Finally, finally, finally, Shadows is here! And, let me tell you, it is Ashes on overdrive! Just as amazing, way more awesome, and (if this is even possible) totally more disgusting and extreme. It rocks!
Shadows gets 5 Creepy Blings, too!

I am the happiest girl ever today to be able to present you with a post written by the AWESOME Ilsa J. Blick herself! WOOT!

Overview of characters Part 1 – For Books and Bling – Mandee
Need a quick refresher, of who’s who before you read SHADOWS? Well, you won’t get much in SHADOWS, but if you DO need to a memory-jog, read on.
If you haven’t read ASHES, shame on you. But don’t despair, you’ve got time.
In any event, BEWARE: spoilers ahead. Really, if you’ve not read ASHES, don’t go any further. Not only will you ruin the perfectly good time you might have had—because no synopsis can do justice to a novel—you will miss a lot of vital information that I can’t include.
Just saying.

Alex Adair: living with her aunt in Illinois after her mom, an ER doc, and dad, a cop, died in a helicopter crash three years ago. Suckier still, Alex carries a monster in her head: an inoperable brain tumor that’s stolen her sense of smell and many of her memories, especially those of her parents. After two years of failed chemotherapy, radiation, and experimental regimens, Alex has decided to call the shots for a change. As the novel opens, Alex has run off on what might well be a one-way backpacking trek through the Waucamaw Wilderness in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She intends to honor her parents’ last wishes and scatter their ashes from Mirror Point on Lake Superior. As it happens, she’s also got her dad’s service Glock, just in case she opts out of a return. After the Zap, Alex gets her sense of smell back in spades: a super-sense that also allows her to intuit emotions and, on one occasion, get a glimmer of what’s going on inside the mind of a wolf. Which is pretty funky. Much more to the point and like the dogs, she is able to detect the bloated roadkill stink of the Changed. Oh, and all of a sudden, every dog is her new best friend.

Ellie Cranford: sullen, uncooperative, a trifle whiny, a kid Alex has to keep herself from slapping silly. What can you say? The kid’s eight. Her dad’s KIA in Iraq; her mother split years back; and Ellie’s now being cared for by her grandfather, Jack, who might have the patience of a saint, but cut the kid a break. She hates camping, and it’s not like she hasn’t got good reason to be a little pissy anyway. Initially rescued by Alex and then Tom, Ellie is kidnapped by some very nasty adults who see her as a meal ticket.
Mina: Ellie’s dog, a Belgian Malinois, and formerly her dad’s MWD (military working dog). Mina also has the patience of a saint and packs a mean bite. The nasty adults take her, too.

Tom Eden: a young soldier and explosive ordinance specialist on leave from Afghanistan; a competent guy who complements Alex in a lot of ways. After Alex fends off a pack of wild dogs, Tom saves both Ellie and Alex by shooting his buddy, Jim, who’s gone through a major lifestyle change. Steady and calm, someone to whom Alex is instantly attracted, Tom also has a few secrets of his own. The biggest is just why he’s in the Waucamaw to begin with. Once they leave the (relative) safety of the Waucamaw—we’re talking wild dogs, booby traps, and kids who’ve suddenly decided that people make excellent Happy Meals—Tom is shot while trying to prevent the nasty adults from stealing Ellie.

Check out Ashes, if you haven’t. Get your hands on Shadows right away! And, of course, give the brillantly ewie Ilsa J. Bick some major creep out love!

A HUGE Books and Bling thank you filled with love for Ilsa. For both writing this post and creeping me out in a way that just makes me want MORE!
You totally rock!

Ilsa J. Bick rocked these books!

5 Blings! for both Ashes & Shadows!

5 Blings! for Ilsa J. Bick!

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Never Let Me Go Gets 4 Blings!

Wow!

Never Let Me Go is a simple story, yet so complex. There isn’t much I can say without giving away important information about the plot.

I will say that the story of Hailsham students sounds so calm and beautiful, but quickly begins to hint that all is not quite right in this tranquil setting.

It is a beautiful story. I think I will find myself thinking of it often. A story that that at feels effortless yet intricate at once. It is told in a gentle rhythm, and it left me in a state of awe.

Also, did not know this was a movie. I’m trying to decide if I want to watch it or not.

Have you read Never Let Me Go? Seen the movie? I’d love your thoughts! 

5 Blings! for Megan McCafferty’s THUMPED!

I loved Thumped! 

 

 

 

 

5 Blings for Thumped!                    
Here’s what Schmoopy and I were reading on our flight to Chicago. We both finished on our books during the  flight home! Since I got this His & Hers idea after takeoff, he really couldn’t refuse my request *evil grin*

I was totally reluctant to read Thumped! I didn’t like Bumped, not one bit. I even threw it across the room when I finished the last page (yes, I put myself in time-out after that).

After reading Thumped, I see that I just didn’t get Bumped. I read it at a point of my life that wasn’t the best time to read a book about kids and babies and infertility and all that. I get that now. Let’s just call it bad timing on my part.

This week I read Thumped and really appreciated it. I laughed and cried in all the right places. I got the clever use of language and appreciated how Megan McCafferty created this super believable, yet terrifyingly realistic, world in the not too distant future where all of this could totally happen. I loved all the language and creative names of everything. So clever! She also expertly crafted a fun read that calls attention to serious issues. That is no easy task. I won’t get political or talk religion, but I do appreciate her attention to both and the way Bumped & Thumped will get some people thinking about things in a way they may not have before. To accomplish that in a way that is both nonthreatening & entertaining is super impressive! I also loved the familiar references to Princeton, NJ (very close to where I grew up). So fun!

I don’t think I need to re-read Bumped, but I do have a new appreciation and respect for both books now!
I give them both 5 Blings!

Get Bumped & Thumped for yourself at your local library, your favorite independent bookstore, or online by clicking the pictures below: